Yo yo passion

MALAYSIA is bursting with things to do no matter what time of the year.

LIFELINE: Chung showing his yo yo collections.

This year, Tourism Malaysia brought a group of media members city-hopping in the peninsula – from the hustle bustle of a modern metropolitan city to the beauty of old world charm before ending up at the Formula 1 racing track in Sepang.

Accompanied by Ammelia Affendy from Tourism Malaysia, Sarawak, professional and certified tour guide Imran Amed Pala took us on an enjoyable working vacation to explore and rediscover.

Visitors, especially those on official duty or business, are encouraged to take full advantage of the opportunities to get out and see the city and the surrounding areas.

With Malaysia’s rich and colourful multi-cultural heritage, the travel adventures can begin anywhere to feed your five senses with new sensations. After all, there is always opportunity to squeeze some vacation time into your busy working schedule.

FRIENDS brush him aside, saying he suffers from the Peter Pan syndrome and never grows up.

Parents dismiss him as a bad influence for their kids while others call him useless and good for nothing.

But despite all the barbs, Ryan Chung stands tall, holding firm to his dream of making his passion — yo yo — acceptable to the local society.

The 24-year-old has a determination of steel and courage of a lion which belies his dimunitive build.

To many, yo yoing is just a pastime, a craze too trivial to be made a life-long pursuit. But not for Chung. To him, it’s a lifeline, a reason for living and a passion that drives him further than he ever thought possible. And he badly wants the game to be accepted as a legit sport.

“I know I’m in for a long and arduous journey but I’m prepared to do whatever it takes to make society see yo-yoing as not just a pastime but also a worthwhile sport. It has got to start somewhere and someone has to do it.”

His passion has not waned since he was bitten by the yo yo bug eight years ago — so much so that he doesn’t mind digging into his pocket to make the game acceptable.

“I know there may not be a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow but passion is not about money.”

Initially not a fan

His love for the game is remarkable for someone who objected to it at first. Strangely enough, his conversion came after he found the yo yo totally repulsive — and seeing his friends enamored by it put him right off.

“I wasn’t a fan initially. But the yo yo changed my life for the better. I was not exactly a bright student. I refused to do anything that taxed my brain,” Chung said.

He preferred activities that were not mentally taxing, and having a good time, hanging out with friends at shopping complexes and entertainment centres.

His social activities were destructive, he recalled with hindsight, and when the yo yo craze started picking up, he wasn’t impressed.

Yes, he did give it a try but as it needed some brain work, Chung quickly dismissed it as a kid’s game. He had no time for it.

However, things started changing when he became intrigued by his friends’ interest in the yo yo. He bought one and tried it out at home, forcing himself (mentally) to manipulate the toy.

“I did that because I wanted to know what was it about the game that caught so much of my friends’ interests. You could say it was peer pressure but it was for my own good,” he added.

Chung found he had a natural talent for the game but that did not mean there was no need to use his gray matter. After each practice, he got better and was soon hooked.

The only difference was that to the others, it was a craze but to him, it’s the real thing.

He continued to play the game — so much so his parents would have none of it. They felt he was wasting his time and objected strongly.

“My late mother was more supportive — she financed me although yo yoing wasn’t her idea of a future for her son while my dad objected outright. Even today, he refuses to see how much the game means to me,” he said.

According to Chung, yo yoing saved him from his destructive lifestyle by making him realise he has a brain that functions after all.

There are benefits which many are not aware of. First, the game stimulates the brain because it forces you to think of ways to manipulate the yo yo. Secondly it’s an excellent stress reliever as one can get ‘lost’ yo-yoing. It’s rather therapeutic.

And there is no end to yo-yoing as it is a life-long activity — and nothing remains the same with the game.

It’s a different experience each time as there are millions of moves you can manipulate the yo yo with.

“Trust me, I was a badminton player,” pointed out Chung who represented the state at the national level.

“At a certain level, the game stops — which means you have mastered all techniques — while yo yo is entirely different. There is no stopping time, it is forever learning.”

Team Yo Blitz is organising a yo yo  competition at the Parkson Grand, Riverside Majestic Shopping

Mall on May 26 and 27. It will be the biggest in the state.

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